Photo by Kenneth Paik
This sad tableau was shot in Kansas City, MO in 1973.
Also notice the engine with the red valve cover, sitting behind the Olds. Is that a Ford six?
From the research I’ve conducted on engine colours for painting my 1:25 scale models, Ford seems to be the only domestic manufacturer that, in the ’50s to mid ’60s painted their engines black and colour coded the valve covers and air cleaners according to displacement and output.
Hmmm – an aluminum V8 F85, a 61 Chevy and a 58 Ford. I am not seeing any great tragedies here (though I am sure I’ll get some blowback on the bubbletop Impala).
Is that a 1963-66 Dodge Dart sedan in the background (the blue car)?
I wouldn’t mind having any of those cars today, particularly the 1963 Olds F-85, which may be the Cutlass version.
What’s behind the Olds a ’64 Tempest?
Also that looks like a ’63-’66 Dart way in the distance.
I find it a bit of a consolation that this was taken back in 1973. These would have all been considered just used-up old cars, and this was probably a typical scrapyard scene for the time.
It’s amazing to think of how much more quickly cars “aged” back then, even if they were kept in pristine condition. Styles changed much more rapidly at that time.
I remember, as a boy in 1973, thinking that a 1965 or 1966 car was old, and anything from the 1950s was positively ancient. Now people – and not just poor people or senior citizens – regularly drive 10-15 year-old cars as daily drivers.
Yep :D. I’m not close to poor and my winter DD is 18 years old and my summer one is 36 years old…. I do, however, have a 3 year old Harley…
I’m poor because I drive old cars! No, I cannot explain my choices.
’58 Fairlane behind the IH crane? And I wonder what engine got pulled from the Chevy.
There were still a number of salvage yards in Kansas City that had iron of this vintage about 18 months ago. One was near I-435 at Front Street (where there is / was a ’62 Galaxie convertible) and the other is very visible when riding into Union Station on the Amtrak. In the mid-90’s there was a very large one along I-70 near Van Brundt Blvd.
For being in KC, I’m seeing a pronounced lack of rust on these!
It hurts to see that scene but it was what it was….and to think people call some of today’s bubblepods “beautiful”. Gag!
+1 the 61 bubble top was a great looker.In 1973 these were old cars to me,I wanted a lime green ‘Cuda or a red Firebird with the huge decal.
Love the vintage junkyard shot. Do you have more of these?
I’m always keeping my eyes open for good junkyard shots. I don’t have any more right now but I have some nice period traffic shots in the US, Mexico, and Guatemala. All shiny, all running. Look for my upcoming Street Scene series.
I’ll bet the red valve cover was the Ford six . . . 229 . . . . back then, as a kid, I’d visit relatives in Missouri and scoop up at junkyards, fields, garages I had access to and collect all of the discarded license plates as Missouri in those years changed out every year. Traded most of them to a Aloha Stadium plate vendor, the late Stan Fuji for unissued Hawaii license plates (’50’s through the ’69-’75 yellow tags).
From the perspective of 1973 . . . . these cars then would be about as appealing as a used up ’97 Lumina or ’93 Intrepid. Nothing appealing – just, as it was said, “used up old cars.” The ’61 Impala coupe most likely was a 283/Powerglide . . . . although some would’ve seen the potential in the bubbletop coupe back then . . .
A good friend of mine had a ’61 Impala Bubbletop with the 235 six and three on the tree. The evening he drove it to the VW dealer to trade it in, the motor blew. Luckily he was able to coast down a hill into the dealer’s lot where he parked the car. He picked up his new V Dub and quietly slipped away.
Ouch. A ’61 Impala in Honduras Maroon. It’s hard to tell but it doesn’t look too badly rusted or smashed up. In ’73 it would have been worth whatever scrap metal was selling for, and it looks like somebody harvested what was almost certainly a 283 powerglide. Someone would pay a small fortune for this today. And it would soon be a 409 “tribute” car…..
It seems shocking, but remember that the average life span for many cars on the road is 10-15 years, that’s it, after that, the survivor rate drops pretty steeply, junkyards today are full of late 90’s and early 2000’s cars that were brand new just a few years ago.
No kidding. I go to a LOT of dealerships to check out the rolling stock, and seeing cars I remember mint and pristine on the showroom floor crunched and rusty in a yard always bothers me.
I remember seeing brand-new Auroras and ’95 Rivs and thinking they were so fresh and modern. Now just try to find one in mint condition, though one of the ladies at my office has a pretty nice ’98 Riviera Supercharged in, you guessed it, Polo Green.
Many modern cars are worth more as parts than as driving cars so they get written off by insurance companies for minor damage to be harvested to keep others going I drive such a vehicle a minor rear shunt would put my Citroen in a junkyard where the operator would quadruple his investment.
Always loved the Bubble Top Chevy, that ’61 was a beautiful car.
I recall reading 30+ years ago that 45% of a given years production was still active after 10 years, but the percentage dropped to 5% after 15 years. I wonder what the percentages are now. Both of our purchased new vehicles are over 10 years old, and they could go a while longer.
In ’73, the Tri-5 Chevys were starting to catch on as collector cars. Many were still getting hot rodded, but were still priced the same as a 10 year old used car.
My dad bought a neighbors ’57 BelAir 4 door with 6, 3/tree for $200. Then ‘flipped’ it 4 months later for $400. Sure, could have kept it, but back then 200 bucks profit was like 1000 or so.
That 63 Olds is in a quite descente shape, with white walls and beige vinyl roof, that car seems loaded, It deserves to be qualified as “Vintage Junkyard Brougham”
I wished you could provide more pictures of it,
I didn’t notice until your comment that it was a hardtop. I thought it was a convertible 🙂
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